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Getting Started - Your Guide to Solid Foods

Most babies can start to eat solid foods around 6 months of age.

If you or your family has allergies, or your baby was born early, talk to your baby’s health care provider or WIC before you start solid foods.

Babies still need breast milk or formula.

Continue to feed your baby breast milk or formula even after you start offering solid foods. As your baby eats more foods, breast milk or formula will slowly decrease.

Is your baby ready?

Bac Baby Eating In Highchar

Click inside the boxes to add a check mark if your baby:

If you checked all boxes, it’s time to start solid foods!

Starting Solid Foods Starting Solid

Dad Feeding Baby

Your baby will move through 4 stages of foods:

  • 01 Wic pureeFingerFood PurpleSpoonSmooth: strained or puréed
  • 02 WIC LumpyPuree BlueSpoonMashed: smooth with some tiny lumps
  • 03 WIC SoftFingerFood GreenSpoonChopped: more lumps
  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoonPieces of table foods

Start off slowly with small amounts of puréed (smooth) or mashed foods. At around 7 to 8 months, offer mashed foods with more lumps and chopped, soft finger foods. Next, provide chopped and some pieces of firmer finger foods around 8 to 12 months.

Take it slow! Be sure your baby can eat and swallow foods from one stage before moving on to the next.

6 Tips for Getting Started

  • Offer solid food after feeding breast milk or formula.
  • Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of soft, easy to swallow foods, such as baby cereal, puréed or well mashed foods.
  • Choose a food high in iron and zinc, like puréed meat or WIC-approved baby cereal.
  • There is no need to give food in a certain order.
  • Offer one new food every 3 to 5 days. Watch for any bad food reactions like rash, diarrhea or vomiting.
  • If your baby becomes upset or won’t eat, do not force it. Offer the food again at another time.

Make It Plain

  • Offer many different foods without added sugar, salt or fat.
  • Babies often learn to like new foods after it’s been offered many times.

Avoid these foods until your baby turns 1 year old.

  • Cow’s milk or other non-dairy milks (like soy or almond milk). It’s too hard for your baby’s young body to digest and may cause health problems.
  • Honey and foods made with honey. Honey can contain bacteria that cause infant botulism, a serious illness. These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults.
Bac Spoon Feeding Baby

Learn Your Baby’s Cues

  • Babies use their bodies to show they are hungry. They will:
    • Open their mouth if they want more food.
    • Keep their mouth closed or turn their head if they don’t want more food.
  • Do not force your baby to eat.
  • Babies often spit food out or make faces. They are exploring new tastes and how to move their tongue, mouth and jaw.
  • Learning how to eat is messy. It is a normal part of child development.

How much should your baby eat?

In the beginning, at about 6 months of age, offer foods 1 or 2 times each day. Start with 1 to 2 teaspoons and slowly increase the amount depending on how hungry your baby is.

Around 7 to 8 months, offer 3 to 4 small meals a day and 1 to 2 snacks. As your baby gets older, offer 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks each day.

Mom Feeding Baby

Feeding Your 6 Month Old

Your baby may eat more or less than these amounts. Breastfed babies usually nurse 6 or more times a day. Bottle-fed babies drink about 27 to 32 ounces a day. Breast milk or formula is still your baby’s main source of nutrition. Every 3 to 5 days, continue to offer new foods from different food groups.

Morning Snack: 1 to 2 tablespoons puréed meat or baby cereal mixed with 4 to 5 tablespoons of breast milk or formula.

Afternoon Snack: 1 to 2 tablespoons puréed meat or baby cereal mixed with 4 to 5 tablespoons of breast milk or formula.

Bac Baby Eating

Feeding Your 7 to 8 Month Old

Breastfed babies usually nurse 6 or more times a day. Bottle-fed babies drink about 27 to 32 ounces a day.

By 7 to 8 months, offer a variety of foods from all the food groups. Here are some ideas for how much to offer. These amounts are just a suggestion.

Breakfast: 2 tablespoons baby cereal prepared to a thicker consistency and 1 tablespoon puréed or fork-mashed vegetable or fruit.

Lunch: 2 tablespoons puréed or fork-mashed vegetables or fruit, 2 tablespoons yogurt.

Dinner: 2 tablespoons puréed or fork-mashed vegetables, 1 to 2 tablespoons puréed meat or other protein food (mashed beans, egg, tofu) and 2 tablespoons prepared baby cereal.

Talk to WIC if you have questions about feeding your baby.

Healthy habits help babies grow strong.

Let your baby eat until they show signs they are full. Babies might close lips, turn or shake their head or raise their arm. Ask your baby if they are full, then let them stop eating. Eat with your baby at family meals. Your baby will eat better when you are with them. Turn the TV off and put your phone down so you can talk.

How to know if your baby is eating enough.

Talk with WIC or your baby’s health care provider to make sure your baby is gaining weight and growing well.

Bac Baby Sipping

Time for a Cup Time For

By 7 to 8 months, help your baby learn how to use a cup. Pour a little water into a small cup that doesn’t break. Lift up the cup so it touches your baby’s lips and they get a taste.

Practice makes perfect. Offer a cup with breast milk, formula or water at meals and snacks. Offer small sips of water when feeding solid foods to help baby develop cup-drinking skills and learn to like the taste of water, which takes time. Water should not replace breast milk or formula. Let your baby drink from a cup at meals.

As your baby learns to drink from a cup, they may drink less from the breast or a bottle. By 1 year, most babies are ready to drink from a cup and be "off " a bottle.

Blk Mom Child
  • 01 Wic pureeFingerFood PurpleSpoon

    Wash your hands and your baby’s hands before fixing food or feeding your baby.

  • 02 WIC LumpyPuree BlueSpoon

    Put food in a dish and feed it to your baby with a baby spoon.

  • 03 WIC SoftFingerFood GreenSpoon

    Throw away any food left in the dish after baby is done eating.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    If heating food in a microwave, stir well and check the temperature before feeding. Heating in the microwave can cause hot spots that could burn your baby’s mouth.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    Do not share food with your baby. Germs can go from your mouth to your baby’s mouth and may cause cavities and illness.


Ready for Finger Foods

By 8 or 9 months, most babies are ready to practice feeding themselves. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t have teeth yet, gums work great for mashing soft foods!

4 Tips for Finger Foods

  • Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of each food. Offer more as your baby wants.
  • Give small pieces of soft table foods. Allow your baby to eat with their fingers and a spoon.
  • Offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 to 3 snacks in between.
  • Be patient. It can take 10 to 15 tries for your baby to learn and like a new food.
Avoid foods that can cause choking: raw vegetables, large pieces of food and round or coin-shaped foods.

Do not give foods your baby could choke on or get sick from, like:

  • Hot dogs or meat sticks
  • Raw vegetables
  • Bacon
  • Whole grapes
  • Fish with bones
  • Potato, corn or tortilla chips
  • Unheated bologna or deli meats
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candy
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice and cow’s milk
  • Rare or raw meats
  • Nuts
  • Honey or food made with it
  • Large amount or spoonful of peanut butter

Good Foods for Your Baby

Finger foods to try around 8 or 9 months.

Each meal and snack needs to be both easy for your baby to eat and packed with nutrition. Make every bite count!


Bac Cereal
  • Whole grain macaroni, noodles, pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Dry cereal (Cheerios, Kix, Chex)
  • Whole grain bread
  • Soft tortillas
  • Whole grain pancakes, waffles

Baby cereal continues to be an excellent source of iron and zinc.


  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash

Pieces of soft, cooked vegetables.


  • Ripe melon
  • Pear
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Shredded apple
  • Grapes cut into quarters

Pieces of soft, peeled fruits.


Bac Shredded Cheese
  • Plain yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Shredded cheese


  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Small pieces of tender meat (chicken, turkey, hamburger)
  • Small amount of thin smooth peanut butter on a cracker or toast
Bac Baby HighChair

Feeding Your 9 to 12 Month Old

At about 9 months of age, breastfed babies usually nurse 4 or more times a day. Bottle-fed babies drink about 24 to 28 ounces a day. Your baby has a small stomach and needs to be eating small amounts of soft nutritious food frequently throughout the day.

Breakfast: 4 to 6 tablespoons baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. 2 to 4 tablespoons small, sliced fruit like a banana.

Morning Snack: 2 to 4 tablespoons yogurt. 2 to 4 tablespoons diced melon. 1 to 2 ounces water in a cup.

Lunch: 2 to 4 tablespoons cooked ground beef. 2 tablespoons cooked brown rice, mixed with puréed baby food vegetables. 3 to 4 tablespoons small pieces soft, cooked broccoli.

Afternoon Snack: 2 to 4 tablespoons baby vegetables spread on 2 unsalted crackers. 1 to 2 ounces water in a cup.


Afternoon Snack: Very thin smear of smooth peanut butter spread on ½ slice toasted bread, top with fork-mashed fruit. 1 to 2 ounces water in a cup.

Dinner: 2 to 3 tablespoons mashed beans. ½ soft tortilla with melted cheese cut in small pieces. Small pieces soft, cooked carrots.

Before Bedtime Snack: 2 to 4 tablespoons dry cereal. Small pieces peeled soft pear.

Toddler Cracker Peanut Butter

Introducing Peanut
Butter to Your Baby

Trying peanut butter as a baby may help prevent peanut allergy when your baby grows older.

  • Peanut butter can be offered once your baby has started other foods, which occurs around 6 months of age.
  • If your baby does not have eczema (red, itchy skin) or food allergies, your baby can try peanut butter. Try puréed fruits or vegetables with a little creamy peanut butter stirred in.
  • If your baby has moderate to severe eczema or egg allergy, talk with your health care provider before offering any peanut foods.

Health and Saftey Tips Health

  • 01 Wic pureeFingerFood PurpleSpoon

    When feeding from a bottle, only give breast milk, formula or water.

    Do not put food, including baby cereal, in a bottle.

  • 02 WIC LumpyPuree BlueSpoon

    Make sure your baby is sitting upright to eat.

    Never leave your baby alone when eating, changing or bathing.

  • 03 WIC SoftFingerFood GreenSpoon

    Before teeth come in, wipe gums with a soft, clean wash cloth after each feeding.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    Never put your baby to bed with a bottle. Your baby could choke, get cavities or earaches.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    Take your baby to the dentist by their first birthday.

  • 03 WIC SoftFingerFood GreenSpoon

    When your baby’s first tooth appears, brush at least twice a day with an infant toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    Keep your baby away from cigarette, tobacco and all other smoke.

    Smoke hurts your baby’s lungs and can make your baby sick.

  • 04 Wic HardFingerFood PinkRedSpoon

    Your baby does not need juice, sweet drinks or soda.

    These have a lot of sugar and can lead to cavities.